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What you need:

2 1 lb aubergines (eggplants), cut into cubes
1 ¾ tsp plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2 ½ lbs. peeled tomatoes or 1 28-oz can plus 1 14-oz can petite-diced tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
½ tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil
¾ cup loosely packed, chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ lbs. white onions, thinly sliced
3 red or yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 lbs courgette ( zucchini ), cut lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices
1/3 cup dry white wine

What you do:

Place a single layer of paper towels on 2 large plates. Place the cubed eggplant onto the plates and sprinkle with 1 ¾ teaspoon salt. Allow the  aubergine (eggplant) to sit for 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, cook the tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, basil, and parsley, uncovered, over medium heat.

In a large frying pan or skillet, sauté the onions and  peppers in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned vegetables to the tomato mixture.

Pat the eggplant dry with a fresh paper towel and add it, along with the zucchini to the tomato mixture. Cover the pot and cook the stew over low-medium heat for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine and ¾ tsp salt and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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What you need:

5 lb chicken, rinsed, patted dry, cut into 6 large pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 gloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp ground black pepper
5 cups dry red wine
¼ cup Cognac
¼ canola or extra-light olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
8 oz pearl onions
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
6 oz good-quality sliced bacon, chopped
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F / gas mark 7.

Place the chicken in a large, deep, non-reactive casserole dish. Layer the carrots, onion, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper evenly over the chicken pieces. In a small bowl, mix together the red wine, Cognac, and oil. Drizzle the wine mixture over the vegetables and chicken, and then marinate the mixture overnight, for 8-12 hours.

Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove each piece of the chicken from the marinade, reserving the liquid, and brown them on each side. Set aside the chicken, scoop the vegetables out of the marinade, and cook them in the frying pan or skillet for 5 minutes, until they begin to get tender.

Arrange the chicken in a deep, glass casserole dish, layer the vegetables over the chicken, and pour the reserved liquid over the casserole. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the mixture, cover, and bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, fry the bacon in the skillet until it is crispy and set it aside to drain. Pour off all but approximately 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the mushrooms and onions over low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until they turn tender. When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and add the bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Cover and return the casserole to the oven for 20 minutes.

Mix together the 2 tbsp softened butter and the all-purpose flour until they form a smooth paste. Add the butter-flour mixture, or beurre manie, to the chicken and vegetables for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the casserole from the oven and stir the beurre manie throughout the dish.

Allow it to sit and thicken for a few minutes before serving.

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